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When Life Offers You Purpose

| Thomas Neel

Linda and I have an artist friend named Nancy Bishop. Nancy has led a very full life, which includes over 40 years as a master potter, though she also successfully dabbled in painting as well. As part of our wonderful group of artists we represented at our gallery, Nancy had become a little closer than some. Let’s just say we thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company and conversation over the years. 

So, as Nancy approached the youthful age of 80, she shared that she was retiring, selling all of her pottery equipment and retiring. She would be selling her home and moving about 45 minutes away to a large retirement village to be closer to her family.  As an active artist at the time, I found this fascinating.  I loved that she was confident in her plan and sure enough she followed through on every bit of it.

Visiting her new community she showed us the art studio they had there, which by the way, including the ability to make pottery. This would allow her to still fiddle with it and teach others.  There was also ample hall space that had been set aside to allow residents to show their paintings and such. It was perfect.

New book with cover image by
Nancy Bishop

So a handful of years have passed, our gallery has been closed and we’ve moved to North Carolina. But Nancy recently contacted us asking for some advice about being asked through a friend to do several illustrations for a book. Little details were given to the scope of the project.  I offered up a business-like approach to her possible task at hand with questions to ask, time frame, compensation, etc. Nancy, armed with my advice, then got further information and found out the project was a kind, budget-less school project to be given to new students transferring to a school on the Army base located in Fort Wainwright, Alaska.  The story of “Arty The Arctic Fox” is to be a delightful way to help orientate them to life in Alaska.

Once Nancy and then I found out this, as an artist her decision became about contributing time towards something done to help, I would think most cases, the children of those who are serving in the military. Retired and additionally under lockdown due to Covid-19, this project became more about having a purpose. It was no longer commercial, it was community and being helpful. Volunteering her talent to help serve those who serve for us. With her new found purpose, Nancy quickly became motivated and put making the cover art into action.

Purpose is a good thing and we are always lucky to have it. Meet Arty the Fox!

Live An Artful Life, Arty! 

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